Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Latimer Name
Latimer is an English surname which migrated over with the Normans during the invasion of 1066. The name is the Anglicized version of the old French “latinier” which translates to speaker of Latin. In this context the name would be considered occupational. During much of the Middle Ages and prior, Latin was the the language of choice for official documents making the position of a “Latiner” or “Latimer” very important.
The variations in the spelling of the surname includes; Latimer; Lattimer; Latimore; Lattimore; Latimor; and Lattimore among others. The variations in spelling of surnames dating back to ancient times can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information, many of which were in the habit of spelling phonetically. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.
Until the Norman invasion and conquest, surnames were rarely if ever used. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times in most of Britain, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, along with the need of the government having a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames seemed the appropriate evolution to this problem. In most instances to distinguish themselves, one from another, those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Gocelinus le Latimer which appears in the Cambridge tax rolls from 1213. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King John. These documents, the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century, are considered the oldest continuous set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom.
The task of record keeping was primarily the responsibility of the churches, priories, and government as literacy was often a skill found only among the wealthy, the clergy, and those in government. For practical purposes, governments found the use of surnames made the recording and tracking of people for census, taxation, and immigration purposes easier.
One of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname was Thomas Latimer who arrived in 170 1and settled in Virginia.
There were also immigrants to the British Commonwealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname. Greg and Elizabeth Latimer and their daughter, Sarah, landed in 1839 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Robert Latimer was one of the early settlers to New Zealand, arriving in 1874 and settling in Lyttelton and Mary Ann Latimer arriving in 1878 and settling in Auckland.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Latimer are found in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Latimer live in Utah, Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname such as British born clergyman, William Latimer. He was educated at Oxford University and the University of Ferrara in Italy where he studied Greek. Latimer was a noted scholar of Ancient Greek.
American born Wendell Mitchell Latimer was a noted chemist. He was educated at and received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. During the course of his career, Latimer won numerous awards and honors including; lifetime membership status in the National Academy of Science, the William H. Nichols Medal from the American Chemical Society, and the President’s Certificate of Merit.
Latimer Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Latimer blazon are the cross patonce, escallop, crescent and cinquefoil. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross . Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges , or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross . The cross patonce is typical of these, whereby each arm of the cross expands and ends in a bud-like projection. These cross variations are probably largely for decorative effect, and to differentiate the arms from similar ones and hence their significance is that of the Christian cross itself.
The escallopoccurs often in arms, represented as the outside of the shell, sometimes “fluted” of a different colour . It has been part of heraldic tradition almost from the beginning of the art, Henry III of England awarded Gules, 3 escallopes argent to Herbert de CHAMBERLEYNE in the 13th century, and it is present in the heraldry of almost all countries . It is believed that they were adopted as badges of those going to the Holy Land and can be found in the arms of many a crusading family. Hence Wade’s suggested association of the scallop with those that “complete long journeys to far countries” .
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter . The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” .